Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Stand (1994) - Intro/General Ramblings

Due to some lame circumstances beyond my control, I'm stuck on the couch all day when it's 70 degrees in NYC.  I thought this would be a great time to tackle a multiple-part review I've been looking forward to for some time: The Stand.

I watched the movie on a snowy day a couple of years ago and made an attempt at writing a review.  It kind of just hung out in my drafts for a while until I decided to start over and take a different approach by covering in four parts.  But I did a lot of thinking about the movie first and decided to write a little intro.

In my opinion, The Stand is the best of the movies based on Stephen King's books.  Honestly, SK movies get a really bad rap.  One of the major problems is that his books are really long and movies are not.  So, understandably, a lot of stuff gets cut.  Also, King movies rarely get James Cameron-level funding and usually have to work with meager budgets for the final product.  Finally, King does not always back these movies for one reason or another.

The Stand is different.  Stephen King was behind this project 100 percent.  For years, the plan was to make this a feature-length film directed by George Romero.  But after several tries, King was unable to get the script short enough.  Just as they were about to hire a different person for the final re-write, he was offered the chance to have it made into a mini-series.

The Stand in 1994 over 8 hours in prime time on ABC.  It was filmed in 6 different states over 100 days and had a whopping 125 speaking parts and 4.5 hours of music.  I believe that the casting for this movie is spot-on.  I've read the book countless times, and I can't imagine better actors playing the parts.

Is this movie perfect?  No.  It was made over 15 years ago, lots of the original filming plans were scrapped due to budget, and it was airing on network television so it had to be on a PG-13 scale.  One of the biggest criticisms of this movie is that it doesn't follow the book exactly.  I love Stephen King books.  I love The Stand.  My favorite version of the novel is the unabridged version with almost 1200 pages.

But the point is, a book is not a movie.  Things that come across in a book might not translate onto film.  And The Stand is such an epic and rambling story that the average viewer could not follow it if King included all of the aspects of the book in the movie.  I put my faith in King that he knew what was right when writing the teleplay. /end cheesiness

So if you're ever stuck on the couch for over 6 hours like myself, or just really want to watch a movie for the entire day (which I often do!) definitely check out The Stand.  Although it's not Avatar, it's a great film representation of one my favorite books in the world.


R.D. Penning said...

Still, to this day, the best made-for-t.v.-movie or all time! I am a Stephen King fiend, and I think you will be happy to know that the next few SK movies coming out actually have fairly large budgets.